Once upon a time, in a far away kingdom, there lived a prince.
He was an eternal prince because the kingdom he was supposed to have inherited was burned to the ground and now only existed in his memories, and even there, only as a blackened ruin with a set of steps that led to nowhere, the breached walls undulating insanely and crumbling stone by stone as the years passed by, a single sunrise and a single sunset at a time.
As far as he ever knew, the prince had an eternity to play with, to do as he pleased with anyone he choose and to come and go wherever he wanted.
And so he played.
He played at manipulation, and for a long time, he played at war.
He played at being a soldier, a commander, a general.
He played at being a torturer, an executioner, an angel of vengeance and at being judge and jury to a hundred thousand hapless souls.
When he got tired of those games and he had played them all for far too long, he turned to playing at being a magician.
Unfortunately, he found that he wasn’t very good at that, and this frustrated him mightily because he found all his other occupations easy up to that point. By that time, the old magician who had taught him all he knew was long dead dust and ashes and there was no-one left to teach him. He tried to teach himself with musty old books and much experimentation, but he was just not good enough to make a magic that would satisfy him in the way his other toyings had.
Then, one day, an extraordinary young girl was sent to him to destroy in any way he saw fit.
Only by that time the prince was already very tired of his endless living and his endless games and he had asked himself many times what else there may be for him to learn and study and then master and to bend to his will of pure white blue ice.
When he saw the extraordinary girl, he thought that he might like to play at love.
It only lasted for a single heartbeat and then he understood there was the game that he could only lose.
And so the prince decided that it was far better not to play that game and to return to his old and practiced ways of playing once again, safe places where he could master everything, and control everything, and where he was at home; where he had always been told he should reside.
In a far away tower,
high above the Mountains of the North,
a single man, dressed black,
amongst the still and silent halls,
leaving the outlines of his boots
in the swirling dust of ages,
walking amongst the torture chambers,
the library where books were crumbling
like fallen leaves,
amongst the sleeping rooms
and finally into the tower,
soaring high above the mountain tops,
where tiny flakes of time so lovingly
have fallen onto
dusty crystal balls
and golden dull machines,
ancient words of wisdom
set in stone
and mute devices, barren jars,
now all the same and dusted grey;
a grey white ash that swirled and danced
in scattered shafts of light,
bright red reflecting now
the setting winter sun.